Wriggly Worms

Posted 10 months, 7 days ago    0 comments

Having a worm bin is a great way to recycle kitchen and garden waste into rich plant food. A simple worm bin is easy to make; basically you need a container which has a lid and drainage, plus something to collect the liquid that drains out.

Tiger worms and red wigglers are examples of compost worms which you can either buy or simply find in your garden. These worms pop up in the right conditions; where fresh organic matter is present, and where toxins (e.g. slug bait) aren't used.

Tips for creating good living conditions in the worm bin :

  • Avoid anything that will go mouldy, such as bread
  • Mix the fresh material in as you add it. Mixing helps the waste to break down rapidly, and also discourages flies
  • Add a light sprinkle of lime. Worms need calcium for their 'teeth' 

  Read more worm wisdom in November Urban and Country



A Seat at the Table

Posted 10 months, 22 days ago    0 comments

Planting a successful summer vege garden takes a bit of forward thinking. Similar I imagine, to planning an important dinner party. Who grows well together? Which one needs support? And what about that character who tends to smother its neighbours? Not to mention dietary considerations.

You need to know a little about the ‘guests’ so you can settle them into their happy place and see them shine. Read our companion planting tips in Urban and Country on Neighbourly  or email us for a copy.


Enough for Everyone

Posted 11 months, 17 days ago    0 comments

It’s easy to grow your own kumara tipu for planting out in November: choose an unblemished, healthy tuber and nestle it into a pot or box filled with damp sand, woodchips or sawdust. Keep the pot somewhere warm, like the laundry cupboard, to stimulate the ‘eyes’ to sprout.

In a week or three you’ll see the first new shoots sprouting through the sand. This is your cue to provide fresh air and sunshine during the day...and as those shoots green up and grow, you'll soon be looking for homes for them all :)


Good Foundations

Posted 11 months, 25 days ago    0 comments

After weeks of wet winter weather some of us might be thinking about paving.

Paving is more than just a pretty ‘floor’- good paving should, at the very least, be safe underfoot in all weathers.  There are benefits for your indoor comfort, too – the right hard landscaping reduces the amount of grit, mud and damp being brought indoors, especially in winter. Properly designed and constructed hard surfaces should require only minimal maintenance and not need spraying. For success with cobblestone, bricks and pavers these should be laid on a solid foundation of shingle top course topped with sand, or even concrete foundations.  When bricks or cobbles are laid only on sand they are much more likely to grow weeds and become uneven over time.

It’s rather like laying carpet; it’s actually the layer underneath that determines the lifespan, appearance and durability of your outdoor hard surface.


Winning Weeds

Posted 1 year ago    0 comments

Not all weeds are equal.

Some weeds have a positive role to play in the garden - and if you encourage the beneficial species, they’ll crowd out problem weeds, improve the ecology in your backyard, and make gardening easier

Some weeds, for example, are worth having to encourage predators to come and work at your place. This pretty, yellow flowered wild mustard (Sinapis arvensis) feeds the hoverflies and ichneumon wasps which prey on cabbage caterpillars. Bees love it, too!

 


Spring Growth

Posted 1 year ago    0 comments

Have you thought about growing some of your veges and flowers from seed this year?

A thriving edible garden starts with healthy seedlings: seedlings that grow into vigorous, resilient plants without sprays or special treatment. There is a reason for this. When you grow from seed, the baby plants are already conditioned to your garden’s microclimate, and won’t need to waste energy settling in or being stressed by a new environment. This is energy that can go straight into new growth instead.

We’ve written Growing Great Seedlings to demystify the process of seed raising. Both ebook and audiobook versions cost less than a cup of coffee! Everything you need to know about successfully growing vegetables from seed, in easy to follow steps.


Oranges and Lemons

Posted 1 year, 1 month ago    0 comments

Here in the Waikato, if you choose the right varieties, you can eat citrus fresh from the tree all year round. At our place, mandarin ‘Silverhill’ is the first to ripen in April, and by August the glowing colours of tangelos, limes, grapefruit and lemonades light up the garden.

To avoid damage (which can attract the lemon tree borer), always harvest your citrus fruit with secateurs. Citrus trees provide their own storage system… the fruit keeps better on the tree than in the fruit bowl. So just pick as you need them.


Sunshine in a Bottle

Posted 1 year, 1 month ago    0 comments

Summer fruit really brightens up dark winter days. From bottled plums to grape juice and even dried watermelon, the colours, flavours and goodness of summer are keeping us nourished through the cold. We looked back on a hectic harvest season in May's Urban and Country. View online or email us for a copy.



Shim